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Frédérick De Grandpré
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Glendale, California, 1931: Mildred Pierce, a young mother with a talent for baking, is left a "grass widow" after throwing her husband, Bert, out of the house. Forced to hunt for work to support herself and her two young daughters, 11-year-old Veda and seven-year-old Ray, Mildred visits an employment agency, only to encounter job opportunities she feels are beneath her. Amidst her job search, she receives dating advice from her friend and neighbor, Lucy Gessler, and begins an unexpected affair with an ex-business partner of her husband's, Wally Burgan. When Mildred receives a call from the agency regarding an opening as a housekeeper to a wealthy socialite, she reluctantly agrees to meet with her. After cutting the acerbic interview short, Mildred seeks refuge at a local diner, Cristofor's Café, where fate, and a waitress named Ida, will play a role in shaping her future. Written by
During the DVD commentary, director Todd Haynes mentions that while on the set of this movie, Kate Winslet told Guy Pearce that he had been one of her biggest crushes when she was a teenager in the UK and he had a role on the long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours (1985). See more »
-> continuing from the title <- But it is not for everyone.
Mildred pierce is not like other movies/series "based" on novels. This one is more like it "picturization " of the novel. If you have read the James Cain novel by the same name, you will be stunned how this movie 'sticks' to the source faithfully. So this should be great right? Ironically we learn from this that sometimes being too faithful to the novel has its drawbacks.Read on:
This is a film about a middle class divorced , single mom raising her kids , trying to be successful and riding the waves of success but making the mistake of trying to woo her 'rotten' daughter that leads to her downfall.
Here is Kate winslet as the heroine, Mildred Pierce. She is in every frame of the film and this must have been an extremely tiring performance for her. But Ms.Winslet is nothing short of spectacular. She gets every emotion right and delivers every dialogue flawlessly. Morgan Turner as the young Veda Pierce is rightly cast and builds up a neat foundation for Evan Rachel Wood to play her adult counterpart. Wood plays the role just right. Mellisa Leo and MAre Winningham as Pierce's friends Lucy and Ida, are perfectly cast. Brían F. O'Byrne as Bert is surprising good and in the final scene, he truly shines.
Now we have a good story and perfect cast so what could go wrong? Its the faithfulness! The novel is a good read, but picturizing it frame by frame into a movie would not attract many audiences. Its a film noire and is very realistic. The scenes unravel slowly and in detail. for some this may seem like a 'drag'. So if you find yourself yawing at movies like 'Revolutionary Road' or 'The English Patient' then stay away. Also the devotion Mildred shows to her, clearly sick and evil daughter is something I found hard to understand. In today's sensibility a mother wouldn't go this far I assume but this is debatable.
Other than that the film is a joyful companion to the novel. It would actual be difficult to imagine Mildred Pierce as anyone other than Kate Winslet, if you both, read and watch the movie over the same course of time. In conclusion, If you like good acting, good music, Pre-World war II era-films with a touch of realism then do not miss this.
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